fewer protections as lawmakers debate lowering the age of majority. and we speak with an expert to learn more about the difficulty chinese leaders face governing the nation by the rule of law. japanese leaders are busy working on a package of reforms. it would change decades old aspects of the country's defense and security policy. part of their focus is on who has authority within the defense ministry, and over the defense -- self-defense forces. they want to give uniformed personnel equal status to their civilian counterparts. prime minister shinzo abe and his cabinet ministers have approved a bill to amend part of the defense ministry establishment law. the revision would give senior uniformed personnel the same authority as senior ministry civilians in advising the defense minister. currently the law states that job should be done by civilians.
the revision also puts uniformed personnel in a section known as the joint staff solely in charge of self-defense force tactical operations. right now both civilians and uniformed personnel share that role. the change is meant to make sdf deployment faster and more efficient. prime minister abe says civilians will still maintain ultimate control of the sdf as stipulated in the constitution. >> translator: civilian control basically means the prime minister elected by the people is commander in chief. the defense minister is also a civilian. >> before world war ii only uniformed personnel could hold cabinet positions that would have authority over the armed forces. article 66 of the constitution was created to keep them out of the cabinet and thereby limit their influence. changing the status quo has been a long time coming. in 2008 members released a
report to then prime minister fukuda. they said civilians in uniform personnel should have equal authority in assisting the defense minister. some opposition lawmakers are against this change. nhk world's political reporter has more on their stance and what's at stake. >> reporter: the bill is defined to facilitate quick and appropriate decisions. it is also meant to better reflect the voices of personnel in the field. the proposal comes amidst the self-defense force's participation in increasingly diverse and complicated missions such as u.n. peacekeeping. that's why the bill gives senior uniform personnel the same authority as civilians in aiding
the defense minister. but some opposition lawmakers say the legislation undermines a key piece of the doctrine of civilian control. they say the concept gives to senior civilians over uniform personnel in directing the self-defense forces. >> translator: i believe the doctrine of civilian control is one in which officials in charge of political policy and chiefs of staff who are experts in military affairs work closely together to reach appropriate decisions. the proposed amendment will likely strengthen civilian control. >> reporter: the self-defense force activities will be a focal point of the current diet session. japan's perception of civilian control is likely to be a contentious point.
nhk world, tokyo. members of japan's governing coalition will also keeping up their push to make one of the most drastic changes to the country's security policy since the war. they're going over an outline of the legislation that would allow japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense, or the right to defense closely related nations under attack. according to the outline, japan would be allowed to exercise the right in what's described as new situations. the idea is based on three requirements stipulated in a cabinet decision last year. the outline calls for revisions to existing laws to allow the self-defense force personnel to use force, even if japan is not under armed attack. members of the main ruling liberal democratic party support the outline. they say it's necessary to make these revisions to enable japan to respond seamlessly to any
contingencies. members of the junior coalition partner komeito voiced concern over the ambiguity of the concept's new situations. they want clearer definitions. both sides decided they need to find a path forward by the end of the month. they agreed to resume talks after draft legislation is drawn up. >> translator: our parties don't have big differences at the moment. i think we have a common understanding. >> translator: if we can do it in april, or if it will take up to a cabinet decision, i don't know. but a final agreement will be made around that time. >> kazuo kitagawa of komeito says the government has yet to fully answer questions his party has posed. people in japan could soon enjoy more rights but face more responsibilities. lawmakers are debating whether to change the age of majority in the civil court, and whether to
revise the juvenile act that protects minors. their decision started after they submitted a bill to lower the voting age to 18 from 20. six governing and opposition parties worked on the legislation, both revision to the public offices election act would add nearly 2.5 million people to the voting pool next year. the idea is that the opinions of young people will be reflected in issues that will affect them directly in the future such as public finance and social security. many lawmakers now say the age of majority should also be lowered in the civil code and the juvenile act. but there's strong opposition to revising the juvenile act. it offers minors protection such as banning the publishing of names and those who break laws. opponents say the revision would go against the act's aim of rehabilitating young offenders. now, when it comes to the voting revision at least one expert says just lowering the age won't be enough to get young
people to the polls. political science professor says it lacks appropriate curriculum to make this democrat interest in politics. >> most democratic countries have 18 years old as the voting age. japan is a bit higher than standard. so it's going to the world trend, which is okay. in addition to that in japan, the popular age group is older, 60 years old or 70 years old, and those people voting turnout rates are very good. they're more likely to go out to vote. and younger people are less likely to go out to vote. and as a result voters voice is more, you know amplified among -- from the older age group generation. and younger generation voices
are in between politics. and actually lowering the voting age is a good thing, but right now the effect of lowering voting age may not be great. because environment is so poor and younger people are not educated or they're not prepared for going out to vote and they have not become interested in politics yet. if we do not prepare them and provide good environment for the younger generation of people and then just lowering the voting age, and then we will promote the population. a catchy platform or catch phrase, some people could become very popular temporarily, and become very popular. and the younger people may be attracted to that person or that party. and the younger people may move very quickly, and then they are
expected to maybe betray and they become even more you know cynical about politics. so, just lowering voting age may not bring about good results. it may, you know enhance deeper political distrust. we have to provide a new type of education, and for example, straw vote, you know. young students in primary school or junior high school let them distrust about one thing, like about nuclear power plant, should we start or should we not start? well we think about the environment, or tpp in various kind of issues let them think. and that kind of education is very important. >> and once again, lawmakers are debating whether to change the
age of majority in the civil code and whether to revise the juvenile act that protects minors there -- discussions, that is started after they submitted a bill to lower the voting age to 18 from 20. talks ended with a note to further talks. ron madison is here with the latest on the tpp. ron? >> yeah that's right, gene. talks do continue. negotiators from japan and the u.s. have wrapped up their latest talks on trans-pacific partnership free trade deal. now japanese representative does say difficult issues remain and he plans to hold more discussion next week. the working-level negotiators discussed key remaining issues for two days in tokyo. tariffs on farm products including rice beef and pork were high on the agenda. tariffs on auto parts were also a main topic. japan's deputy chief negotiator spoke after the talks and said the two sides still seem to be sounding each other out. >> translator: negotiations have
been moving forward. but, the remaining problems are difficult. >> oe said he hopes for more direct talks with the u.s. next week in hawaii. that would be on the sidelines of a meeting of chief delegates from all 12 countries in the tpp negotiations. all right to the markets now. the euro has been sliding lower for some time now. and on friday it dipped to an 11.5-year low, breaking below the 1.1 dollar level. currency traders are really offloading now the single currency following the european central bank's announcement that it will start a bond buying program next week. the euro is weakening against other major currencies as well. euro/yen right now there you see it 131.63. now it's the lowest point that we've seen it since about late january. on to the markets now in terms of equities. investors are taking a bit of a breather before the release of jobs data out of the u.s. that's due in just a couple of hours now. major indices in europe are fairly unchanged at this point.
well in asia markets ended the day mixed. tokyo's nikkei rose to a 15-year high on the ecb decision. shares in indonesia jumped 1.2% to finish at a record high. shanghai and hong kong extended losses after chinese leaders lowered the country's economic growth target. a key index of the health of the japanese economy rose in january for the second straight month. officials at the cabinet office are maintaining their assessment that the economy is improving. they say the coy incident index of economic conditions in january stood at 113 up 2.4 points from december. it's the biggest rise in the year. it's based on a range of data from factory output to personal spending. the improvement is mainly due of higher production of cars for shipment to europe and china and semiconductor manufacturing equipment to south korea. the leading index which projects the health of the economy a few months down the road it fell 0.2 points. but officials say production continues to improve and they do
not see the drop as a major change in the overall trend. a major japanese maker of liquid crystal display panels is moving to boost its share in the growing global market. executives at japan display say they will build a new factory to increase production of products for smartphones. the executives say they will spend more than $1.4 billion building the plant in ishikawa prefecture central japan. they expect demand for lcd panels for smartphones to grow in industrialized countries and in emerging nations such as india. the officials plan to start operating the new factory by the end of next year. they hope it will boost the firm's total output capacity for the panels by 20%. japanese staffing and information services company recruit holdings has acquired a german firm and this as it moves to expand overseas. now the firm is an online restaurant booking service provider. company officials say the purchase of quandoo is costing them right around $225 million.
recruit is acquiring all of the shares of the german firm. more than 6,000 restaurants in 13 countries, mainly in europe are registered with quandoo's online booking service. recruit executives say they hope to boost that number to 30,000 in three years. they're aiming to increase sales on the site from the current $5 million to more than $40 million. all right. that is going to wrap it up for biz tonight. i'll leave you with a check of the markets.
now to our coverage of one of the most important political gatherings of the year in china. the national people's congress. premier li keqiang has been front and center. he stressed that china needs to put a stronger emphasis on the rule of law. li appeared before hundreds of delegates in the great hall of the people in beijing. >> translator: we will govern in accordance with the constitution and other laws and bring all government work in line with the rule of law. >> premier li used the word law about 40 times during his address. but one expert says the term has a different meaning in the country, and he says president xi jinping faces a tough challenge proving china is a nation governed by law.
>> translator: i want to stress that china's concept of the rule of law is unique. it's completely different from that of western nations. >> translator: professor ho of peking university. he is known for his straightforward opinions even economy it comes to commenting on the country's regime. he has more than 1.5 million followers on the chinese version of twitter, and his remarks constantly draw the attention of people in china and overseas. >> translator: the chinese communist party is considered as a body that transcends the law. legal revisions and proposals are carried out at the command of the party. the party can revise the constitution or other laws as it wishes.
the party plays a key role in the judiciary. every court contains a group. official communist party representatives. presiding judges serve concurrently, as party secretaries. and direct the courts in their capacity as party representatives. and they also make decisions. >> reporter: professor is behind xi's move to promote the rule of law is a sense of crisis on the part of the authorities. they are concerned that the growing diversity of chinese people's values could undermine the legitimacy of the communist party. >> translator: china needs good reasons to convince its people that the country should stick to the current system. the communist party cannot rely on ideological slogans anymore. it needs a new way to appeal to the people. i think it sees the rule of law
as a new theory it can use to justify its existence. for china the law is a tool to secure power and govern its people. it has never been a tool intended to limit the party's power. i don't think president xi actually wants to lead the country to become a society governed by the rule of law in any real sense. that's probably the furthest thing from his mind. >> reporter: he reminds us of china's repeated persecution of liberal lawyers and academics. as an example he cites the case of xiaobo a human rights activist and nobel peace prize winner who has been in prison since 2009 for allegedly inciting state subversion. >> translator: the government has been tightening control over the ideology of academics.
they've been putting pressure on us to resist the western concept of law. i myself have recently received several warnings from state affiliated media. the authorities have just declared that they will govern the country according to the constitution and law. as a law professor, i intend to put forward a concrete definition of rule of law from an expert's perspective, and most importantly, i'm determined to point out the authority's mistakes. >> reporter: the big question is whether china will be able to develop into a country that is governed by law. he says it is difficult to predict future developments but he will continue to express his opinions candidly. >> authorities have increased security across china for the duration of the national
people's congress. that didn't stop at least two people from carrying out the latest in a string of knife attacks in the country. they wounded several people before police shot one dead, and caught another. investigators say the attackers targeted people at random at a train station in the southern city of guangzhou. photos and videos reportedly taken at the scene have appeared online. in all nine people were hurt. nearly a year ago a man with a knife wounded six people at the same station. film star harrison ford has crash landed his vintage plane at a los angeles golf course. he received injuries but they are reported not to be life threatening. authorities say the single engine plane clipped a tree as it went down on a fairway of a golf course shortly after takeoff from santa monica airport. the accident occurred around
2:30 p.m. on thursday. fire officials say bystanders tended to the pilot, paramedics later came to the scene and transported him to a hospital conscious and breathing. ford's publicist told abc that a vintage plane had engine trouble upon takeoff and he had no other choice but to make an emergency landing. the publicist said ford's injuries are not life threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery. th plane did not flip over and was mostly intact after the crash. ford was the only person aboard. ford is a longtime aviation enthusiast. he is known for his screen roles as the adventurer indiana jones, and space hero han solo in the star wars series. in a separate aviation accident in new york a delta airlines jetliner slid off the runway at laguardia airport during a snowstorm. the nose of the jet smashed into a fence separating the airport from a nearby bay. the airline says 125 passengers
and 5 crew members were on board the plane. hospital official says at least two people were slightly injured. airport officials say the jet veered left of the runway after touchdown. the u.s. national transportation safety board says it is investigating the accident. snowy and wintry weather are departing from the united states, but it's leaving behind a mess and colder conditions. our meteorologist jonathan oh is here to explain. jonathan? >> hello, gene yes. we are talking about still winter weather that is impacting the united states. but i think we're starting to see a little bit of a wrap-up at this point. i want to point out these clouds, this white band of clouds is that frontal passage that brought some wintry weather for the eastern side of the united states, and it pushes off toward the east it's leaving behind a bit of a snowy mess. let me show you some video to give you an idea of what is happening on the ground level, where a late season winter storm hammered the eastern u.s.
thursday, causing thousands of flight cancellations, and numerous car accidents. you can see here that a state of emergency was declared in different places such as kentucky. this video is from arkansas. but in kentucky traffic was halted on highways leaving hundreds of motorists stranded overnight. also slick travel conditions were reported in the ohio river valley and surrounding states as well. one person was killed to a vehicle crash in tennessee and you probably just saw there, also farmers trying to save the cows and put them in some shelter. schools and government offices were closed in d.c. new jersey new york, i mean what would you expect with all of this snowy weather across the eastern seaboard. now we are seeing a transition period, after all of this. we're trying to get rid of all this right now. in kentucky you can see traffic backed up because of the slippery roadways. and also over in dallas texas, also seeing some 18 wheelers tractor trailers that are causing some problems. clearing that out, high pressure is taking over meaning sunnier skies.
cold weather as we see northerly flow for the eastern side of the united states. but for the rest of the united states, we're seeing a southerly flow meaning temperatures are going to start warming up and it will be sunnier as well into l.a., look at this a high near 30 degrees. you really need the rain. you aren't going to get any. at least for the next few days. notice even temperatures in the teens from denver into houston. move colder in the northeast with temperatures below zero. we're talking about a bit of a mess but of the wet variety as we take a look at the forecast for europe. this cutoff low pressure system is one, another one located up toward the northwestern portions of the british isles in ireland, this is going to be moving down towards the south and east looking at anywhere from 100 to 150 millimeters of rain during the next couple of days. so a very wet weekend in store for you. a little bit closer on the low pressure system in italy. it is slowly pushing toward the east but looking at the possibility of some severe weather, with excessive rainfall, strong winds and some thunderstorms along with the possibility of tornadoes and large hail. so look out for that. so athens you're part of that forecast.
temperature topping off at 15 with some thunderstorms. the rest of europe looking at a much calmer weather pattern for friday, as high pressure takes over, and we'll see some sunnier conditions. wrapping things up a look at east asia. we are keeping an eye on the stationary front. this is a slow mover pushing toward the east. meaning that as it moves toward japan we're looking at the possibility of not only clouds but some rain. off and on throughout the weekend. as it extends into saturday sunday and maybe even into monday, such a slow mover. and then by the time we go in to the middle part of next week we should see a little bit of an improvement. 7 for saturday with some rain in tokyo. look at this into the teens for beijing. down to the south still seeing some showers into hong kong a high of 21 degrees as we go into saturday. hope you have a good day wherever you are. here's your extended outlook.
roup of pedestrians in jerusalem. israeli police say they are treating the incident as a terrorist attack. we crossed to our correspondent with the latest. a local council votes to restructure a dam. the controversial project in the southwest of france could be downsized. those are the top stories. also coming up, we will dive into the world of virtual reality. in business, kate moody will have the latest on innovation that is transforming the gaming industry. plus, we exa